On Saturday afternoon Toney and I wanted to go out for our traditional two pints each, but neither of us had much enthusiasm for the yuppie bar. It always smells like disinfectant in there, and there are far too many socks-less loafers shuffling around.
Bennigan’s offers a surprisingly good lineup of beers, but the place has the atmosphere of one of those display kitchens at Home Depot. And the clientele is often a little… sad.
We don’t like to venture too far from home, so what to do? Jim Dandy’s is gone, Toney won’t set foot in the dive bar, and those are pretty much our options. We’ve basically been adrift, without a decent public house to call our own.
Then one of us suggested a bar/restaurant we wrote off several years ago. I can’t remember exactly why we stopped going there, the food was pretty good, I think. But I seem to remember it smelling like a wet dog all the time, like the carpeting had been mildly moist since Watergate.
And I also recall having a few beers in their bar, when I first moved to Pennsylvania, and it was so smoky you practically needed a miner’s helmet to navigate the joint. I know bars are often smoke-filled (oh, I know bars), but this place was ridiculous. I always felt like throwing my clothes away, and taking a bath in tomato juice.
But, Toney reminded me, smoking isn’t allowed in bars and restaurants anymore… So maybe it was worth a revisit?
And it most certainly was. The place has a real pub-feel, there were lots of neighborhood folks in there enjoying the golden elixir, and a respectable lineup of drafts was available. We both chose a Sierra Nevada to start, and the bartender was friendly and welcoming.
Wow. And this was available to us all along?! For some unknown reason we’d canceled it out in our minds, to the point where we didn’t even see it when we drove past anymore. You know how that happens? A decision is made, and that’s that, even after the original reason is forgotten?
We went with Bass Ale for the second round, and marveled at the collection of regular folks, just out having a few beers on a late Saturday afternoon. I didn’t see any chronic drunks, white trash itching to stab something, or anyone sobbing uncontrollably. It was our kind of crowd.
The only small downside? The beers were $4.50 each. If they’d been one dollar cheaper, I’d be ready to proclaim it PERFECT. But after our long tortured search for an appropriate drinkery… I‘ll pay the extra four bucks per week without (too much) bitchin‘.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we might’ve found our place. Our quest might finally be at an end! …I’m sorry, I’m getting a little emotional here.
Next weekend, however, we’ll be doing a rare birthday edition of the Saturday two-pints, and going all the way to (gasp!) Scranton. Toney’s birthday is on Sunday, so we’re going to start the festivities at Cooper’s (300 bottled beers, 35 taps), and see where that leads us.
And if all goes well, we might do it again in a couple of weeks, when it’s my birthday. Dat’s right.
Unfortunately, on the same day we experienced our grand pub breakthrough, we also found out the local Don Pablo’s has gone out of business. And that eats it from the ass-in.
Yeah, I know it’s a chain restaurant, and completely Americanized, blah, blah, blah. But we enjoyed it. In fact, it was one of our favorites.
When we lived in southern California we were spoiled by the kick-ass Mexican food on almost every corner, and I always wondered if I was losing my edge by liking Don Pablo’s so much when we got to PA. Every time I scarfed down another of their delicious platters of goodness, I had a nagging concern my standards were slipping.
And that might be true, but I don‘t care. I’m going to miss that place. We ate there at least once a month, for eight years. It’s in our blood.
Why are you abandoning us, Don?! I thought we were friends? Please come back! We need you!!
There is another Mexican restaurant nearby, but I had one of those (ahem) Sunshine-style run-ins with the management staff the only time we were there.
I think I might have to lobby the family for a revisit, since the one on Saturday worked out so well… I’ll let you know how that goes.
Some of you might already be aware of this, but today is Election Day. Right after I hit PUBLISH on this update, I’m going to cast my votes, over at the school administration building.
I’m not going to tell you my choice for president (longtime readers shouldn’t have a problem figuring it out), but I will tell you who I voted for in my FIRST presidential election: Walter Mondale in 1984.
And my guy received 13 electoral votes, versus 525 for Reagan. Heh.
Let’s not get into a big political brawl here, I think we’ve all had just about enough of that particular turd fiesta. But I’m interested in the first presidential candidate you voted for, in a general election. Use the comments link below to tell us about it.
Also, did anything interesting happen to you while voting today? Or do you even plan to vote? Bring us up to date, won’t you?
I’ll leave you now with yet another sign I’m getting really old, and tie it all together with a punk(ish) song about drinking and Election Day. I tried to think of one about drinking, Election Day, and Mexican food, but couldn’t come up with one. So this will have to do.
See you guys tomorrow.